How to Propel Growth in the Commercial Sector: Dip Your Toes in the Cloud


Have you ever stood near the edge of a dock trying to decide whether to jump into the water? Myriad questions are competing for attention: Is the water cold, how deep is it, what is actually floating down there? People in the water insist that it’s fabulous and that it’s easy to adjust. You’re tempted by the possibility, but you’re not convinced.

I see the same phenomenon play out with the cloud. Many organisations are interested in what the cloud can offer, but not enough to move their data or workloads, even when others have led the way.

Confronting the Cloud Conundrum 

According to IDC, worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure will more than double over the 2019-2023 forecast period.[i] As cloud usage continues to skyrocket, I think less about the organisations that are embracing the cloud and more about the ones that aren’t because they have a similar sense of trepidation.

From cost efficiency to scalability, the benefits of moving the right workloads to the cloud haven’t changed. Getting started might be the hardest part. According to research by McKinsey, more than 80 per cent of commercial organisations that adopted one cloud solution went on to adopt additional solutions.

“This result suggests that once a company makes a decision to give cloud technology a try, the practical benefits gained — along with positive user experiences — lead the organization to feel much more comfortable migrating subsequent applications to the cloud.”[ii]

So, what is holding the others back? What risks are they worried about? Just as important to me, what are the long-term risks to their business if they don’t try something new?

Overcoming the Fear Factor

The more I speak with NetApp partners and customers, the more I understand how uncertainty manifests in the day-to-day operations of commercial organisations that haven’t taken advantage of what the cloud can offer. One common theme emerges from my discussions: People hesitate because there’s still too much confusion around how commercial organisations stand to benefit and how it will affect their bottom line.

At the same time, I’m encouraged at how much customers are leveraging the expertise and experience of NetApp's partner ecosystem to build their cloud strategies. My goal is to further bridge the divide, starting with three key messages for commercial organisations that have been reluctant to embrace the cloud. 

You’re Not Alone

Cloud adoption among commercial organisations has soared in recent years. According to RightScale’s 2018 State of the Cloud Report, 31 per cent of respondents said they reached an advanced level of cloud maturity, and only 10 per cent said they had no cloud plans.

Commercial organisations are choosing cloud solutions to help them meet core business needs. Small organisations don’t have large IT departments, and cloud solutions can effectively address growing challenges associated with security, disaster recovery solutions, and scaling up storage needs. Chances are high that a cloud offering can reduce your capital costs and streamline your operations.

NetApp partners are superbly positioned to demystify the cloud by providing the right level of information to address the issues that matter in your unique business environment. Tell your solutions provider what’s on your mind—they can answer questions on your terms.

Moving to the Cloud Doesn’t Have to Be a Giant Leap

Although cloud use is increasing, it still isn’t the only game in town. According to the RightScale survey, 17 per cent of small-medium businesses planned to double their cloud spend, while 62 per cent planned to increase their spend by at least 20 per cent.

Moving workloads to the cloud isn’t an all-or-nothing decision. Making the best use of the cloud means evaluating your business needs and moving your data and workloads wherever it serves those needs best. Many commercial organisations start their cloud journey with one small step.

The McKinsey research showed that two-thirds of cloud purchases by SMBs were meant to replace an existing application or solution. As your legacy systems need updating, ask your solutions provider if there is a cloud alternative that would address your business needs.

Smaller Players Can Still Achieve Big League Benefits

Companies of all sizes are increasingly data driven, and commercial organisations can leverage the same benefits as enterprise-scale companies when it comes to the cloud. To stay competitive, they need solutions that help them leverage the power of their data without burdening their bank account or their IT staff.

Our partners know the verticals they work in, and they know how to help their customers innovate with solutions that align with their business goals. They’re also familiar with NetApp’s new offerings that target the commercial segment. For example, our All-Flash C190 offering gives smaller organisations an affordable NetApp solution that meets their needs, giving them access to the enterprise-level functionality that NetApp is known for. Talk to your solutions provider about where you want to take your business. They can help you develop a strategy to get you there.

Not everyone wants to jump into the water without knowing what’s beneath the surface, and that’s fine. It isn’t always prudent to do so. However, surviving in today’s market does require organisations of all sizes to be efficient and agile, and succeeding requires a commitment to innovation and transformation.

Implemented well, the cloud can help propel the commercial sector forward in all these areas. NetApp Cloud can help. Are you ready to test the water? Can you afford not to?